{IMP}ulse // 2018

Acoustic Guitar & Electronics

Duration // 7'30"

{IMP}ulse was created as part of a "proof of concept" process for the composition of Black Amnesia.

In the last couple of years I've often found that the best way for me to work through large-scale projects is to first delegate specific creative goals to small "miniature" pieces. I find that this approach helps me solve some of the creative hurdles in a more methodical way, and not fall prey to the "too much to do" paralysis of the creative process.

From the technical side, in this short piece I am testing a real-time spectral analysis system which is being implemented (in combination with some cued state changes) to control synthesis parameters in response to a source signal. The Max/MSP patch is responding to the input from the guitar based on some types of behaviors that have been programmed into the system. This system is further deriving a number of the synthesis behaviors directly from the spectral content of the signal. The synthesis itself is a combination of granular, and a somewhat extensive adaptation of Tom Mudd's "gutter synthesis" (which uses modeled duffing oscillators) that I have been working on for the past few months. There is also a touch of live signal processing being done to help the multiple voices mesh a little bit more. Other than a couple short sound files, almost all of the sound you hear is being generated in real-time; probably about 90%.

Musically, the compositional goal here was to explore gesture, timbre, and dynamics, as a method for testing the boundaries of the system as it currently stands. I wanted to craft a short piece that really pushed the tech so that I could determine what needs to be touched up, and what's working well already. The ultimate goal for this particular piece of software is to disperse it out to three separate machines, which will each double an instrumental performer of the ensemble (bass flute, bass clarinet, and percussion); I have further plans which are in-progress for the soprano part. Each of these machines will then be slaved to a central computer which triggers state changes / cues for all of the machines and diffuses the total output to eight-channels.